Detox spas are a special breed, using a variety of techniques to detox the body, including fasting, colonics, specialized diets and spa treatments. But programs at detox spas vary widely, and some might be considered "detox light." If detoxing is your goal, make you understand exactly what the detox spa offers in the way of programs, staff and support. These are my picks for the best detox spas in North America.
The Raj in Maharishi Vedic City, Iowa, was started by the Maharishi who taught the Beatles how to meditate in the sixties. The luxurious detox spa offers a shortened version of the classic Ayurvedic detox called panchakarma, which in India takes 14- 28 days. Just 18 people stay at the spa, which serves organic vegetarian meals of lentil soup, grains, vegetables and stewed fruits. The program detoxes the body through diet and specialized treatments like Abhyanga.
This Canadian detox spa 90 miles east of Toronto offers the best of East and West detox – 7 to 21 day Ayurvedic panchakarma programs with colonic hydrotherapy for those who want an extra boost. The food is Indian and caters to vegans and vegetarians, but meat eaters can enjoy chicken and fish. It takes only 20 people at a time so you get a lot of individual attention. People tend to wander around – even eat dinner -- in their robes.
3. We Care Spa
This is the classic California detox spa, where guests go on a liquid fast and get daily colonics to flush out toxins. It’s in the beautiful setting of Desert Hot Springs. You can get detoxing spa treatments like lymphatic massage and they have yoga, meditation, and dance classes. It has a very loyal following with celebrities and the LA crowd.
This is about as serious as a detox spa gets. This holistic hospital an hour south of San Diego in Rosarito, Mexico, offers a one or two-week detoxification and regeneration programs overseen by a medical doctor, nutritionist and detoxification specialist. A lot of people who come here have serious health issues like cancer, MS, lyme disease, and chronic fatigue syndrome, but anyone who wants to get healthier can go. You can get colonics, massage, and hydrotherapy, with fitness classes.
This spiritual community and detox spa in the Arizona desert south of Tucson is purposefully undeveloped – no TV, no phones, and minimal artificial lighting. You can do a 10, 17 or 24 day detox programs. The 10-day program starts with 7 days of 100% organic green juice, followed by three days of organic raw food. You can fast with a group or on your own. It’s do-it-yourself on the colonics front -- the “fasting pack” they recommend you buy has an enema bag. Guests also meditate, do yoga and get lymphatic drainage massage.
Bring your pen, paper and tape recorder. This health-oriented detox spa in West Palm Beach, Florida believes in healing the body through raw food and there are lots of lectures to make the case. Guests stay at least one week and up to three weeks, eating raw foods, taking spa treatments, meditating and exercising. This is about changing the way you eat, not a short-term cleanse. The Oasis Therapy Center offers colon hydrotherapy and a lot of different therapies aimed at detoxifying or rebalancing the body and mind.
Once a month this adventure destination spa in Ivins, Utah turns into a detox spa by offering a seven-night Detoxification Program. It's detox light – no fasting, no colonics. It does cut out red meat, refined sugar, caffeine, alcohol, and allergens like corn, wheat and soy, and guests drink smoothies that aid in liver detoxification. There are lectures, cooking classes, yoga classes with detoxing twists, detox spa treatments like body wraps, and nutritional products to complete a full 28-day detox. Read my review of Red Mountain Spa.
This seaside vegan spa near Fort Lauderdale lets you can do your own detox under the direction of Dr. Frank Sabatino, a chiropractor and nutritionist. It offers water and juice fasting year-round but you don’t do it in a group with other people. There is yoga and meditation – spa standards that are great for detoxing – and a popular water aerobics in the pool. But no colonics.